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Harmony from the Din-Lair, Goetic Metaphysics, and Categorical Imperatives

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  • Harmony from the Din-Lair, Goetic Metaphysics, and Categorical Imperatives

    This is not an essay, by the by, more....a consideration of subject. Homebrew, weighted with one eye on the doors ahead, one I'm less concerned with the current functionality and more the way it fits in the public craw, if it jives with people who like it and incites curiosity in the skeptical. With that noted:

    Anyone who has engaged with me for more than a minute knows that I stress the importance of understanding a Beast's Lair as a literal manifestation of their presence in the psycho-spiritual landscape of humanity*. If you've gotten me on things I'd like to see or gotten me into dealing with the consequences of esoterica, you've also undoubtedly heard me mention how one of the interesting things about Beasts is that while they maintain a form of individuality, the Horror-as-Goetia** means that a Beast is now an acting incarnation of a portion of humanity, that they represent a portion of people-a metaphysical quirk I always found really fascinating and always wanted to play more with-ways in which being the multitude in the gourd could mechanically come to bear as much as the Beast's ability to be the world inside the gourd is brought to bear through standing Lair mechanics. There's a lot of ways that could be played with, but I have a particular angle that itches my teeth.

    In this 'frain, I found a comment from Yossarian stuck in my brain and wouldn't dislodge from itself-the notion that Beasts, at one point in development, were suggested in having something of a Disquiet-like effect on the people around them. It would be crass to do a direct one-to-one with that, but there's something in the living memetic that aims to propogate it's presence in the world having this notion where their presence fractals and spirals outward in mythic recursion. Stories gain power through their retelling, and we draw power from connecting to the archetypal forces of natural experience and humanistic interpretation-might a Beast, as they ride that circle upwards, find their narrative not merely become re-emergent, but empowered when it rises up by virtue of their presence? Such also has a certain jive with Mage's Nimbus, and Resonance in general as explored along the way***.

    That started jiving a lot with some of the concepts I had, that seemed to be jiving with the community, in regards to Beast as a Scion Darkly, a game about Building Your Legend, wherein selfish Hunger conflicted with developing community and Kinship, in finding the line between one's one disciplined importance in the world and one's harmonized acceptance of their unimportance to a brutal and nurturing nature. It didn't help that I was also watching The Good Place while a lot of this has been stewing initially. I've often held that Beast is a game about Self-Transcendence (taking one's actualized self and connecting it to the world outside the self, functionally making one's self a world to sustain life in, or at least a conviction that empowers and nurtures others) over the other game's general first focus on Self-Actualization (find the balance of understanding between one's monstrosity and one's humanity), that building your brand is also building a world, so....why not take to a logical extreme and look at Beast as a game of the Categorical Imperatives. Beasts already have their ability to call in in their worlds within to resonant places without-why not allow their values to be an available mantle of power for those who are part of the portion that a Beast makes up? What if part of the horror of Beasts was that their maxims could be universal laws? Or very damning temptations, at the least?

    It also became the beginning of something "tangible" for Heroes to twist and Insatiable to render meaningless.

    This feels like something to play with.

    So Here's the Idea

    For our purposes, let's call this trait...Not Legend, that'd be confusing. *thesaurus's the shit out of this*Lore, it continues the L framing, is loosely associated with Legend, but not a perfect word. I don't need a perfect word, so Lore works.

    So, each dot of Lair gets a Lore associated with it, which is derived from either a Beast's Legend or Life (Lair 1 is always the Beast's Legend)-as a Beast grows in Lair, they adopt a new Legend or Lair based on the Anchor they supported and developed the most in pursuing that Lair, and the old Anchor becomes the Lore for that layer of Lair.

    For now, I'm not directly interested in what exactly Lore does, so much as it something that empowers people who take it up if they pursue acting in accordance to it, and that people can recognize that there's a reason to act in accordance to this role, this statement of power. So maybe it's just extra dice, maybe they can access a Beast's Birthright, or maybe the normal effects for some of their Atavisms and Nightmares-who knows. The Point is that a young man, thinking to seduce his boss in order to get a promotion, can feel the power of a Beast who grew from being Seductive as something that would support him in his hunger, or that a normally Cautious young woman finds her caution to yield more results in this city than anywhere else, thanks to the Beast who's Life empowers her own. The Legends and Lives of the Beast incentivize people to act in the ways and forms that they themselves chased and presented as powerful, as correct, as worth bearing on people's minds and souls

    THe more Lair increases, the farther a-field this option goes-here you can make a direct comparison to Disquiet.

    The Insatiable have a way of scrubbing this out of a reason-the more they increase Schism, the more Lores are just removed from a Beast's Lair-no meaning or power to draw from a beast's Lair onto a person's self, all things rendered hollow. Heroes, by contrast, have some way they can change those Lores around-by interacting with a Beast's victims, terrorizing their Kin, and of course inflicting Anathema on a Beast-to Lores they perceive defining the Beast (and maybe also can use to incite more social penalties against a Beast, more directly Disquiet-like, I 'unno), souring and salting a Beast's legacy made manifest.

    So this is the idea. Obviously we're not aiming for mechanical perfection, I'm more interested in "Is this something on track, something that fits and benefits Beast, or is not fun or off track?"

    TO me, it feels like it fits where a tooth might be missing, but I confess that might just because I've been it gargling and swishing it around in my mouth with all these other teeth for a while.

    *For now we'll ignore the larger questions that emerge from Chamber creation that can emerge from anyone who's not a demon, werewolf, or Sin-Eater.
    **Mother's Land Dreamborn that stewed in the primal heart of collective humanity's soul until it became this hybridized entity who is both the World and People, but for our interests here we're mostly just dealing with Horrors as Temenotic Goetia.
    ***Also to lesser extents it brings up Werewolf's Renown, Geist's Regalia, and Changeling's Entitlements.


    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Feminine pronouns, please.

  • #2
    The notion is weirdly resonant with an idea I was mulling over earlier today for a more broadly-applicable system of descriptors to use for stuff like "what's the mechanical definition of a magath, as spirits go?" or "how does one model more granularly the ways that vampires are aggregative creatures of theme?" or "can demonic pacts for pieces of people's lives model the things the demon gets in more detail than how many Cover Experiences a given aspect is worth?"

    I didn't get very far because this was an idle line of thought on a slow work day, but I feel like the Investigation mechanic's system for Clue elements may be worth taking as a starting point.


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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    • #3
      Someone argue with me.


      Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
      Feminine pronouns, please.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        Someone argue with me.
        Cant really argue, but do Heroes also have an effect of their own like this since they also have Legend and Life? Does the predominant Lore (say most chambers embody the Legend of the Beast) influence the story (legend) of the Horror that the populace dreams of?

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        • #5
          Love the idea, it's a great way to both make touchstones important in a Beast game beyond raw narrative. And, it gives more tangible goals to the Begotten beyond "Get to know as many monsters as you can."

          That being said, I would argue a different L word for that Astral Resonance that both connects and influences both Beasts and the collective subconscious: Lessons. As it is, the Lessen section of the Core book was definitly needed but none the less clearly tacked on. This would be a fantastic way to frame what Lessons their Legends are meant to teach, and more importantly how that effects both their Horror and the Hive over all.

          My recommendation for the Hero equivalent is Labors, as Heroes are more remembered for their raw accomplishments rather than the moral of their stories (save the tragic heroes, but that is a different story.)
          Last edited by Dusksage; 05-09-2020, 10:21 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

            Cant really argue, but do Heroes also have an effect of their own like this since they also have Legend and Life? Does the predominant Lore (say most chambers embody the Legend of the Beast) influence the story (legend) of the Horror that the populace dreams of?
            To the First, This is dependent on the reading of Heroes and how that would shake out to mechanics and metaphysics. THe Big question that matters to that is if you think Heroes have Lair or a Lair-alike, and if their Lair(-alike) operates similarly enough, or if there's something that keeps it from doing That. The short version is, I don't think it fits the sort of horror, threat, or commentary aimed for if a Hero's Legend spilled out into a recursive mantle that other people can feel the draw of and would dive into. For Beasts, it's a manifest cause for self-reflection and their relationship to a community-a self-reflection that feels out of place for Heroes.

            For the second, I feel like the answer is an obvious yes.

            Originally posted by Dusksage View Post
            Love the idea, it's a great way to both make touchstones important in a Beast game beyond raw narrative. And, it gives more tangible goals to the Begotten beyond "Get to know as many monsters as you can."

            That being said, I would argue a different L word for that Astral Resonance that both connects and influences both Beasts and the collective subconscious: Lessons. As it is, the Lessen section of the Core book was definitly needed but none the less clearly tacked on. This would be a fantastic way to frame what Lessons their Legends are meant to teach, and more importantly how that effects both their Horror and the Hive over all.

            My recommendation for the Hero equivalent is Labors, as Heroes are more remembered for their raw accomplishments rather than the moral of their stories (save the tragic heroes, but that is a different story.)
            Well, their goal is still "Eat People, Build Family, Add Chambers, Fight Assholes", it just something that emphasizes that doing those things have Consequences without shoving it in their face. It makes it clearer what all of that is going into.

            I would lean it away from lessons because, as big a proponent of Lessons as I am, I feel like it's better expressed through the idea of Legend(Story) Building.

            Again, I'm not a big fan of the idea that Heroes have the same feature.


            Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
            The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
            Feminine pronouns, please.

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            • #7
              I invoke the grave names of Heavy Arms and Cinder , bear upon me the thing I feel I am clearly missing.

              (Listen, I get paranoid when people don't disagree with me.)


              Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
              Feminine pronouns, please.

              Comment


              • #8
                If I follow...the idea is that a descriptor attached to Lair dots (tentatively called Lore) affects the people who interact with the Begotten and/or their Chambers/Hive by empowering/rewarding those people when they act in accordance to the Lore?

                Okay typing that out makes it sound more complicated, so that is a bad summary.

                Let's try again
                • Goal: Give Beasts a Disquiet like effect.
                • Rationale: As pieces of Humanity's Universal Shared Subconscious, they have a greater impact on the people around them, either subliminally or psychically.
                • Representation: Attaching descriptive elements to the character equal to Lair, based on their actions. These elements are collectively called Lore. The first Lore is the same as the character's Legend.
                • Effect: TBD
                Sounds good to me so far.
                Am I missing anything?


                Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                • #9
                  I've been summoned!

                  Ack.

                  I mean, I do like the idea, but I found something that would be missing to me:

                  I think the way Lores are assigned is too... passive I guess. As described, Lores are created by resonating with what you were doing to get your bigger Lair.

                  It feels like that's just giving an emotional Lair Trait on top of the "physical" ones you get.

                  Rather than getting a Lore based on what you were doing when you increased your Lair, I'd rather see it go the other way. Expanding your Legend creates the Lore, and the Lore increases your footprint that allows your Lair to grow.

                  To me this does to things:

                  1) It feels more active to the "Scion Darkly" concept. Trying to bring a Lore into existence is a goal in and over itself, rather than an incidental benefit of doing what you were doing. It can also help to bridge the transcendence vs. actualized divide, and creating Lores would somewhat become both.

                  2) Something a lot of CofD games lack is a solid framework for when your Power Stat should change. Besides "have XP for it," what in-universe cues are there to raise these traits? Most of the time... not much; Beast included. The pursuit of Lores as a framework for increasing your Legend, and thus growing your Lair is a more solid way to explain how Lair even increases in the first place.

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                  • #10
                    Oh, Lore could be influenced by humans. Ultimately, no matter what a beast does, humanity ultimately interprets stories, so maybe the Lore you desire has a chance of not happening. Instead you have to set up circumstances to increase the chances that the desired effect takes place.

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                    • #11
                      I do like the idea of Lore being connected to building your Legend. It could be useful as a signpost to Inheritance.


                      Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                      • #12
                        Another thing to consider:

                        Does implementing this concept also mean changing the various ways the game tags an area or situation as "resonant"?


                        Resident Lore-Hound
                        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                        • #13
                          One of the things that I like the most about Demon is building the Cipher, it makes players engaged with their character and gives something to look forward to as your character progress. Anything that gives that same feeling is a good system in my book, I like this a lot.

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                          • #14
                            Looking forward to where this discussion goes. It does speak towards something that feels as though it is missing from the game. (Beast, in many ways, still a diamond in the rough.)

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                            • #15
                              Sorry about not getting to the feedback, been a weekend.

                              Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                              If I follow...the idea is that a descriptor attached to Lair dots (tentatively called Lore) affects the people who interact with the Begotten and/or their Chambers/Hive by empowering/rewarding those people when they act in accordance to the Lore?

                              Okay typing that out makes it sound more complicated, so that is a bad summary.

                              Let's try again
                              • Goal: Give Beasts a Disquiet like effect.
                              • Rationale: As pieces of Humanity's Universal Shared Subconscious, they have a greater impact on the people around them, either subliminally or psychically.
                              • Representation: Attaching descriptive elements to the character equal to Lair, based on their actions. These elements are collectively called Lore. The first Lore is the same as the character's Legend.
                              • Effect: TBD
                              Sounds good to me so far.
                              Am I missing anything?
                              A Beast's Anchors that strongly contribute to a Beast's Lair forms a Mantle of Power that people can take up by playing to the role of that Anchor. A Beast's lair spills outward as an archetype that rewards you for filling.

                              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                              I think the way Lores are assigned is too... passive I guess. As described, Lores are created by resonating with what you were doing to get your bigger Lair.

                              It feels like that's just giving an emotional Lair Trait on top of the "physical" ones you get.

                              Rather than getting a Lore based on what you were doing when you increased your Lair, I'd rather see it go the other way. Expanding your Legend creates the Lore, and the Lore increases your footprint that allows your Lair to grow.

                              To me this does to things:

                              1) It feels more active to the "Scion Darkly" concept. Trying to bring a Lore into existence is a goal in and over itself, rather than an incidental benefit of doing what you were doing. It can also help to bridge the transcendence vs. actualized divide, and creating Lores would somewhat become both.

                              2) Something a lot of CofD games lack is a solid framework for when your Power Stat should change. Besides "have XP for it," what in-universe cues are there to raise these traits? Most of the time... not much; Beast included. The pursuit of Lores as a framework for increasing your Legend, and thus growing your Lair is a more solid way to explain how Lair even increases in the first place.
                              Bolded for the main thing I'm trying to wrap my head around.

                              I'm not opposed to the opposite route so much as I'm not sure how that actually looks.

                              First, re-laying out some of the terminology, for my own sake if nothing else:

                              Lair-the manifestation as power of a Beast's presence in collective humanity's psychospiritual landscape, which could reasonably be understood in the Real World as how much a Beast is part of anyone's given background, as well as those for whom the Beast is a direct contact in some form or fashion. If this were Scion, it would be called Legend directly.
                              "Lore"-a Mantle of Power, that corresponds to Legend or Life, left over from the way actions of a Beast make up their Lair within the Hive(s) that their Lair is a part of. The Power in question is not so interesting for me at this point in the consideration.
                              Legend-Currently one of the two Anchor traits, stemming from a Beast's monstrous side and represents how they want the world to see them through that lens. Not a direct one-to-one for Scion's Legend, obviously.

                              So if I have this right, the idea is that a Beast can seek out a Lore and seek to use that as a means of increasing their lair by actualizing into by way of signficant, recongizable Deed*, like filling a Role for a Promethean's Pilgramage, which then proceeds to do what the speculative mechanic does.

                              If so, that's....interesting and something I would not say no to, because it works in much the same way Beasts increase their Lair through Kinship and take on some of their family's legends through that way (because it's not all Nightmares and Merits kids, Beast do use other monster's stuff for their own Lair). On the personal front though, some of this clashes with the take on the "actualization and consequences of it" feel of it-it's more like a Beast is shedding Roles then taking them on-remember, I like how part of the horror of Beast is also in that the game generally keeps them in ownership of their circumstances.

                              But again, Beasts Can and Do Take Power by taking on Concurrent Legends, and more importantly I feel like I'm Misunderstanding Something Here.

                              It's stuff to chew on for now, definitely.

                              Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                              Oh, Lore could be influenced by humans. Ultimately, no matter what a beast does, humanity ultimately interprets stories, so maybe the Lore you desire has a chance of not happening. Instead you have to set up circumstances to increase the chances that the desired effect takes place.
                              Er, ish?

                              I'd leave the Fucking With Lore concept to Insatiable(Removing it) and Heroes(Fucking With It) because A) that feels like the thing that should be theirs, and b) I feel like by the time you've got humans coordinated enough to fuck around with a specific psychospiritual element like that, you've also got the sort of mob motivated enough to take action against you, and at that point it's easier to apply torches and ptichforks. Hell, some of those Lores can help them out with their endeavor.

                              Which is not to say that a human cult or a especially dedicated human occultist COULDN'T, it's just not my priority with the concept.

                              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                              Another thing to consider:

                              Does implementing this concept also mean changing the various ways the game tags an area or situation as "resonant"?
                              Ideally not-it would just add onto it by adding a psycho-sociological element to play with that strain. Trying to play in the sandbox, not redefine it.

                              Though I'm open to arguments that the Lores of a high-Lair Beast wouldn't also then implement Lair Traits or such.

                              Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post
                              One of the things that I like the most about Demon is building the Cipher, it makes players engaged with their character and gives something to look forward to as your character progress. Anything that gives that same feeling is a good system in my book, I like this a lot.
                              Thing of the matter is that the Cipher is a way for your characters to become more powerful, and openly gives them more things to play with.

                              THe Lore Concept is more interested in making Beast's something of a setting conceit, something that can be used as a minor mystery (or Mystery, for mages) and social dynamic for others, and can create low-tier allies, enemies, and foils in Beast.

                              Anyways, the shape of the idea has new context, so time to put water in it and shake it around and see if it's crack-y or just different.

                              *It occurs to me that one thing I need to point out is, due to the way Astral metaphysics work, a deed of something like a Beast travels further due to the pscyhospiritual connectivty than it would in terms of people actually knowing about it happening-like, you might not have heard how Jimmy Hookhand broke Jon Arbuckles wrist, but since the Satiation of Hunger is one of those things that builds Lair, the archetype of events makes waves and informs dreams most directly and this subtle feeling that you need to be mindful of how people act, "not all people have hands", so to speak. High Lair Beasts have people telling their stories with their own takes on it, and when you press them-it's just a thing they heard, couldn't tell you who anymore.


                              Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                              Feminine pronouns, please.

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